Friday, 9 September 2016

The Caribbean of Europe - Day 8


Goodbye Trogir


Trogir                                                                            Croatia

Saturday 29th August 2015

For once there was no alarm in the morning which meant I got a bit of a lie in. This was the day I would return home but my flight was at 9pm so I still had pretty much all day to kill as I packed my bag the previous night. So I got up and changed but then a thought came across wondering what time I had to be out of my room as I had no idea. So I had to try and find a way to figure it out though it wasn’t really the end of the world. I decided to head down and out for the bakers again and when I headed down the stairs to the reception, the manager was sitting down talking to his friend. I asked him what time the check out was and he said 10:30am. I thanked him and moved on heading for the bakers.

View from My Room

Along the way I was thinking about what to do to put my time in and I then thought it would be a good idea to go to Split. However, food came first so I arrived at the bakers getting the usual pastry and then made my way to the big supermarket across the road. I entered inside grabbing a few things constantly reminding myself of the price difference. It was quite funny when I picked up some Pringles and seen that the tag said 24.99 Kuna (£2.99). I left with my things and headed back to the market area to have a quick look to see if I missed anything; I did and bought a few more things. I eventually returned to my room after wandering the town again and packed the items away for my departure. Once I did that I looked at the time and seen I had an hour left. So I thought it would be a good time to make sure I had everything and then rest. I also decided to count how much money I had left thinking I would be down to my last pennies but for once it wasn’t. I still had about £260 worth so I was well alright. I was thinking it had gone a long way the money I did spend on excursions and gifts as well as good food at night and felt as though I saved money on breakfast and dinner. It was also a weird feeling knowing that I was returning home after what seemed to be a very long week. Though the way I had seen it, if I think a week has seemed long, then I had a great time.

Villa Ruzica

Anyway it was time to leave so I picked up all my belongings having one last look in the room and then closing the door behind me. I was quite heavy footed going downstairs with all my gear but I eventually reached the bottom. As I got there, the manager wasn’t there so I had to leave the keys with the cleaners. I left Villa Ruzica for the last time as I headed south to the harbour and across the southern bridge hoping the ferry to Split was still there. It was thank the lord as I headed straight for it. There was no rush though as they were still boarding a lot of passengers so in no time at all I was joining the small queue. I could see the seats were running out but in the back right corner, there was a lot of space and I kept muttering to myself saying that’s my spot. I climbed aboard and I managed to squeeze passed everyone with my big rucksack and finally got my spot. We were waiting for a while as the boat was full of people and they were running out of space. Luckily though there was another ferry arriving and all the people who were going to Slatine had to get off and go onto that ferry. This meant we didn’t have to go to Slatine but instead head straight for Split.

A short time had passed and we finally got under way as the sun was shining bright. A long time had passed trundling along until we were nearing Split and I noticed a lot of small sailing boats across the sea close to us and far away which looked incredible. We were finally approaching Split and then we moored up. I took my time to get off as everyone was trying to get off at once. I noticed half the passengers were carrying their rucksacks and luggage too; I thought I would be the only one. Anyway, I stepped off the ferry heading straight to the centre of Split. It was dinner time at that point so I walked to a random restaurant which made pizza. Plus they had big fans and spraying water which was a bonus. I sat down and ordered a tuna pizza forgetting how large it was going to be. When it arrived, it was a whole 12 inch pizza which hadn’t been cut. So I spent the next 5 minutes trying to cut through the pizza cutting it into manageable proportions. I dug right in wolfing the first half down and then I began to slow down as I was starting to get full. Somehow there was still room in my belly to finish the rest off. I paid and eventually left but really I just wanted to fall asleep like a lion after it has eaten a whole zebra.

Sailing Boats

I carried on though looking for a sweet shop; somehow I managed to find one hiding within the maze like narrow streets. It was a small shop which wasn’t good for my big turtle shell of a rucksack behind me so as I walked in I had to watch where I was going so I wouldn’t turn into a bull in a china shop. The small shop was fantastic with many varieties of sweets and chocolates all different shapes, sizes and colours which all looked mouth watering. So I grabbed paper bags and filled them up without a care in the world. The whole lot came to about 69 Kuna which was a bargain I thought as I left surprisingly without knocking anything over. My next plan was to head to the park to the north and sit near the water fountain where the majority of the park was covered in trees.

Split Park

When I got there it looked quite busy already but I found a free spot in the shade where I placed my heavy rucksack down and sat upright against the tree watching pigeons getting chased away by kids and sometimes adults. I spent a long time in the park enjoying the slight peace but then I had to get moving otherwise I would have fallen asleep and miss my flight back home. I headed passed the Ninskog statue one more time as I rubbed his golden toe for luck. Then I walked through the main gateway to the palace area with the monstrous bell tower set in the middle. I also took a slow walk around looking at a few shops just to pass the time. My rucksack was feeling heavier and heavier each step I was taking so I headed for the harbour front to see if I could find a shady spot behind a tree or bush.

Split
Split

Along the way I had seen the funniest thing during my time in Croatia. I was walking behind an old man who wore a red T-shirt and red shorts but the funny part was the fact that he had a very long bushy white beard whilst wearing a Santa hat. I was trying not to laugh but I couldn’t believe what I had seen. Then I laughed some more at the fact I was walking along side him with my big red rucksack and a green top which looked as though I was one of his elves. Anyway, we parted ways and then I had noticed the heat was rising at that point so I headed for an ice cream shop. I caved in and bought a slushy; it was like Antarctica in a cup and it was great. I had eventually arrived at the harbour front trying to find a spot in the shade but it was that busy, every shady spot was taking except for one right behind a huge palm tree. I think rubbing the golden toe really did bring luck as I claimed the area as mine. I sat and relaxed as the world went by watching on at boats coming in and out relaxing and then a stupid pigeon decided to crap on me. Great I thought wiping it away and cursing the bird; of all spots to hit, it had to be there and then.

Split Harbour Area

I checked the time once more and thought it would be a good time to make my way back to Trogir so I picked myself up and my heavy belongings and walked back over to the Buraline ferry. I was amongst the first lot of people to queue up when the captain said that they weren’t boarding until 3:30pm. It was about 3:10pm at the time so I threw my bags down again and sat at the edge of the dock as there was a big gap between me and the ferry. A short moment later, I was back on my feet as it was time to climb aboard. I received my ticket for one last time and luckily enough I managed to be at the same spot as on the way. So I placed my bags next to me in the back right corner watching everyone board the ferry. Yet again the ferry was heading straight for Trogir which I was happy about. The other ferry next to us was taking the other passengers to Slatine again and once we were ready, we both set off together.

Split Harbour

As soon as we left the harbour area of Split, it seemed as though both ferries were racing each other quite close as well. It was quite fun to be honest as it was pretty much neck and neck for a while until the other ferry had to turn for Slatine which left us on our own for the duration of the journey. I was savouring all the views as it would be the last time I would witness them watching planes taking off and landing in the distance and speed boats passing us across the calm waters. Before I knew it we were approaching Trogir and had soon moored up. So on went my rucksack and cramming in to get off the ferry. As soon as I was off, I headed across the southern bridge back onto the island. I walked into the park area to the east of the island as I dropped my bags again whilst I sat looking at the view of the calm blue sea behind a group of palm trees. I spent a while admiring the views trying to pass the time until I got up and had one last look around the town. I headed along the harbour front admiring the huge yachts and island hopping cruise vessels. I then headed around the narrow streets at the centre passing my apartment and then through the gateway to the north crossing the bridge heading through the market area and then back onto the island. 

Leaving Split
Trogir Harbour

I walked back to the harbour front heading to the southern bridge as there was a taxi rank there. Luckily I could see one taxi left so I headed straight for it. The driver had seen me coming and got out of his taxi opening the boot. He could pretty much tell where I was going and after placing my rucksack in the boot, we were heading straight for the airport. We were talking to each other along the way about where I had been in Croatia and Bosnia as well as telling him about my previous trips; it passed the time too as we were approaching the airport. I got out grabbing my bags and then the driver gave me a high five/hand shake wishing me safe travels.

Trogir

I walked into the airport and happily enough, it wasn’t huge like the ones I was used to; it was pretty straight forward to find where I needed to be. I could see the baggage drop off for all flights to the right of me so I headed for it. There was no queue so I headed straight for the desk without the hassle of waiting. I told the woman where I was going and what time my flight was and she told me that the flight wasn’t ready for preparation yet so I would have to go back again in an hour or so for it to be ready. So I grabbed my heavy things and headed upstairs where it was a bit quieter. I did what everyone else was doing and laid against a glass barrier and on the floor whilst waiting. I was getting really bored so I just watched on at people going by me and also looking down at the arrivals hall watching people getting escorted to buses or taxis thinking that it was me 1 week ago. Time went on still bored until finally it was time to head back to the baggage drop off.

Split Airport

There was a small queue this time which wasn’t too bad and I was soon getting seen to again. I showed the man my boarding pass and passport and then I placed my rucksack on the belt watching it disappear behind the rubber flaps. I had my documents returned to me and I was soon heading for customs. I literally flew through customs as I had nothing to hide and soon arrived at the departure lounge. Surprisingly there was one more bit to get past and it was passport control. I had my passport ready to show the woman and once I gave it to her; she said my name and asked me where I was travelling to looking serious; I said Newcastle and she quickly gave my passport back. I thought as soon as I said Newcastle she was leaving her booth running for the hills. Anyway, I headed up the escalators and straight into the small departure lounge. It looked really busy too as at times I had to dodge around to get to places. The first place I went into was duty free being welcomed by the strong aroma of perfume as I browsed the shop admiring the large sized drinks, cigarettes and confectionary. I got bored at that as well so I left not getting anything. I checked the time and I still had about 30 minutes before the gate was open so I scanned the whole lounge to find a seat but it was jam packed. However, I managed to find a seat right at the back end next to the windows so I manoeuvred around people heading for that spot and then sat down.

There wasn’t much of a view from the windows to be honest as there were trees scattered along the windows but there were small gaps in between where I could just make out planes coming in and taking off. The noise of the planes taking off was deafening and freaked quite a few people out. It was night time at this point so I knew I wouldn’t get to see much from the plane on the journey home. Since I was waiting for the gate to open I sat playing on games on my tablet trying to relieve the boredom; I just wanted to get home at this point due to pretty much hanging around waiting all day for this moment.

Eventually it was 9:15pm and everyone began to line up. Yet another miserable conga I was lined up in began to slowly edge forward until finally it was my turn. I was soon moved along heading down a squeaky set of metal stairs and straight onto a bus. I was amongst the last to get on the first bus and there were times people were getting too close for comfort. We were off heading for the plane swinging around in the back like a pig in a butchers van and then we shortly arrived at the plane. My heart began thumping hard at this point knowing I would be up in the air pretty soon. We all got out and it was a mad rush to get on the plane. I was thinking what was the point in rushing the plane wasn’t going anywhere without anyone? I reluctantly climbed the stairs as I was greeted by the cabin crew heading for my seat. I was sitting at the window this time which was great for me and once I sat down, I looked out of my window and noticed I was right over the wing blocking some of the view. I was going to ask the cabin crew if they could take it off so I could get a better view but I think we needed it.

My View

Anyway, everyone was present and accounted for as the cabin crew closed the doors for our departure. At the front of the cabin I noticed there was mist coming out of the sides of the cabin and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was. I thought there was a problem with the plane but as we got under way to the runway, the captain came over the tannoy stating that it was part of the air conditioning as it was very warm which reassured me everything was fine; no doubt I probably wasn’t the only one worrying. We were heading to the west end of the runway taking off towards the east and it didn’t take us long to get there. There was no waiting around for the planes coming in or going out so as soon as we straightened up, down went the throttle with the familiar feeling of adrenaline as the plane became faster and faster. I was a lot more confident with looking out of the plane whilst taking off and all of a sudden we were off the ground gaining height.

We took a sharp turn right heading north west all the way home and I was still looking out of the window trying to make out the patches of light scattered along the ground. The plane was steady and moving fast so I sat back listening to my music thinking about home and my family. Not long after we took off the captain came on the tannoy again stating that we were flying towards northern Italy and making great time. He also said that on the left hand side was Venice down below. I was constantly looking out of the window to try and make it out but I couldn’t see it so I just took his word for it. We were cruising along nice and steadily flying over Austria and Germany and as I looked out of my window again, I was lost for words when I witnessed a bright shining full moon behind us illuminating the clouds below us whilst slowly moving passed us. It felt like a fantasy world but then the next big thing coming would be unsettling.

I was not sure if we were flying towards Northern France or Southern England but as I looked out of my window to the far North West, this almighty light display was happening which put the fear of god in me. It was a huge thunderstorm and as we closed in I could see orange flashes of light billowing out and spreading across the clouds like the 4th July. I couldn’t keep my eyes from it but I knew deep down we were well away from the danger. It freaked me out when the pilot decided to bank left and I was thinking don’t go that way you fool. We had thankfully passed the storm feeling so relieved and as it was my first time witnessing a storm whilst being in a plane, the only way I could describe it would be a spectacle of horrifying beauty.

A moment later the captain came onto the tannoy stating we had 25 minutes left until we would arrive back at Newcastle as he was beginning to descend. As I was looking out of the window I couldn’t see the ground as we were heading through the clouds resulting in the plane getting shuck around slightly. Then all of a sudden I could see large patches of light from towns and cities slowly appear when we came closer to the ground. I was trying to make out where we were trying to find Newcastle or the coastline coming in but I couldn’t. What I did see though was the runway shining with red lights which was our destination. The pilot took a sharp turn left and then rapidly slowed the plane down as the wheels came down too. We were getting closer to the ground and suddenly we had landed perfectly with the pilot hitting the brakes coming to a steady pace; we arrived safely and it was so surreal returning to Newcastle.

I was the last to get off the plane as everyone was trying to get off at once. I headed straight into the airport taking the long straight corridor to passport control; after having my passport scanned and checked, I was soon leaving heading for my rucksack. There were already a lot of people waiting as the belt began to move. The bags started arriving and I was like a little child at the sight of sweets when my rucksack was coming around the corner. I grabbed it forgetting how heavy it was and made my way to the exit. Yet again I had a big smile on my face realising that I was back. I was about to grab my phone and ring my grandparents until I looked to my right and there they were sitting waiting for me.

Newcastle Airport

I was surprised yet happy to see them as they were of me when I walked over to them; we were soon leaving the airport for the car park. Once I got outside, I could immediately feel the cold and it felt as though it was winter after being in such a hot country. We got in the car heading for home sharing stories about my journey. It passed the time as we were already approaching home. All along the way I experienced weird surreal moments realising I was back and preparing myself to see my family. We turned the corner going along the straight bit of road witnessing the outside light at the front door always thinking of it as a beacon home. As I got closer I could see my mother in the upstairs bedroom looking out for me. I could see she was rushing out of the room to open the door. We parked up with me grabbing my bags and as I looked at the front door; my parents were standing there smiling as it was just after midnight. My mother had a hold of Smudge and as soon as she let her go, she come racing down towards me overwhelmed with excitement to see me. I thanked my grandparents for picking me up at such a late time and we said our goodbyes. I shut the door behind me telling my parents of my stories. We spoke for a good hour and it was about 1am so I finally headed for my room lying flat on my soft comfy bed like starfish thinking about my journey.

It was full of adventure and discovery as I went into Croatia not knowing what to expect. I found it hard to love at first but once I expanded my exploration, it turned out to be a place of tranquil beauty and the feeling of freedom whilst being out at sea. I thought that Croatia didn’t have something to live up for as Italy with there Ferraris, food and culture; it felt as though Croatia was just laid back and chilled which I loved. Bosnia was a real gem too with so much history unravelled on a single trip. The best way I could think of Croatia’s Dalmatia coast would be that it was the Caribbean of Europe; a truly fascinating place.

Caribbean of Europe
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